During a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated senators and the American people “should expect an affirmative statement of support for the personal liberties of all Americans from the next Supreme Court nominee.” He added that the nominee “has an obligation, a serious and solemn obligation, to share their personal views” on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Roe v. Wade, and corporate interests versus the interests of citizens.
Schumer said, “The traditional question on these matters has been, will the nominee defer to precedent? Nominees will be asked if they respect settled law. This is known as the principle of stare decisis. The nominee always answers that, yes, he or she will respect and defer to precedent. And senators nod their heads, having received this rickety, vague assurance that the nominee will not rock the judicial boat and turn the clock back decades. But for two reasons, this standard, settled law, stare decisis, is no longer an adequate standard by which to judge nominees.”
After contrasting answers by Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts on precedent with Gorsuch’s ruling in Janus and Roberts’ decision in Citizens United, Schumer added, “We already know that President Trump’s nominee will be prepared to overturn the precedents of Roe v. Wade and NFIB v. Sebelius. We know that because President Trump has said so. When the president has a litmus test for his nominees, and only chooses from a pre-approved list of nominees designed to satisfy that litmus test, it is certainly not enough for a judge to prove his or her moderation by invoking stare decisis. Stare decisis and respect for precedent have become an almost meaningless bar to set for a Supreme Court nominee. At this critical juncture, with so many rights and liberties at stake, US senators and the American people should expect an affirmative statement of support for the personal liberties of all Americans from the next Supreme Court nominee. The American people deserve to know what kind of a justice President Trump’s nominee would be. President Trump is the one who made the litmus test for his nominee, not us. The onus is on his nominee to show where he or she might stand. Considering the ample evidence that President Trump will only select a nominee who will undermine protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions, give greater weight to corporate interests than the interests of our citizens — no what — matter what precedent says — and vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the next nominee has an obligation, a serious and solemn obligation, to share their personal views on these legal issues, no matter whom President Trump selects tonight.”
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